Towing the line of the Minister of Information, the Lagos State Government’s White Paper on the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry report into alleged massacre at the Lekki Tollgate on Oct. 20, 2020 has been roundly discarded as junks.
The White Paper released late on Tuesday said the report is “full of inconsistencies and contradictions.”
It rejected the report of the killings or massacre at the Toll Plaza, pointing out that the report contradicted the evidence of the Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa that only three of the bodies that they conducted post mortem examination on were from Lekki that only one had gunshot injury.
Persecondnews.com had reported that the panel’s report claimed that nine people were shot dead by the Army and Police and several others injured at the plaza in a desperate attempt to disperse the #EndSARS protesters.
In a scathing reaction, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed had on November 23, 2021 dismissed the report as one riddled with “errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions and conclusions that are not supported by evidence”.
He told a news conference:”Without mincing words, let me say that never in the history of any Judicial Panel in this country has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence. What is circulating in public space is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been playing on social media since the incident of October 20, 2020.
“It is simply incredible that a Judicial Panel set up to investigate an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the same allegations it was set up to investigate in the first instance. Instead of sitting for all of one year, the panel could have just compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everyone’s time. That report is nothing but the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob.”
But the Lagos State Government’s White Paper reads: “The JPI’s finding of nine deaths is therefore irreconcilable with evidence of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died of gunshot wounds at 7:43pm at Lekki Tollgate on 21st October, 2020.
“Having held that, there was no evidence before it to the contrary of what Prof. Obafunwa said. The question is, where did JPI then get its finding of nine deaths?
“This finding of nine (9) deaths at LTG on 20th October 2020 is even more baffling because apart from listing out their names in tabular form at pages 297-298, the JPI offered no explanation regarding circumstances of their death. The names simply sprang up at pages 297-298 of the report without any justification.
“It is quite astonishing that in the list of eleven (11) deaths set out at pages 297-298, two (2) of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salami and Folorunsho Olabisi as Nos. 37 and 38). Furthermore, the person listed as No. 46 Nathaniel Solomon who testified as a witness and petitioned the JPI in respect of his brother who he alleged died at Lekki Tollgate (LTG), himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020.
“Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abuta Solomon) was then also listed as No 2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.
“The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43pm, on 21 October, 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99) Furthermore, there was no shred of evidence regarding who shot him.
“Another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award of compensation to only one (1) out of the alleged nine (9), listed as “deceased” which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight (8) other allegedly deceased persons on its list.”
Persecondnews.com had reported that the Justice (retired) Doris Okuwobi panel submitted its report to Sanwo-Olu on Nov. 15, 2021.
Other members include: Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN), Patience Udoh, both representing the Civil Society, Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Segun Awosanya, human rights activist, Olutoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center, and Temitope Majekodunmi, a youth representative.
On October 19, 2020, Sanwo-Olu had set up a nine-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations perpetrated by operatives of the Nigerian Police Force and the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
The panel was set up as a response to one of the demands of youth during the #EndSARS protests, which is investigating cases of police brutality and providing restitution to the victims.
Inaugurating the panel, Sanwo-Olu, said it was in line with the resolution of the National Economic Council on October 15, 2020, chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
He said the panel was in accordance with Section 5 of Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State (2015) which gives the panel the powers to procure evidence and summon any person to give evidence.